France has gotten a bad rap as the so-called sick man of Europe, but French stocks and country-specific exchange traded fund have been outperforming the Eurozone.
Year-to-date, the iShares MSCI France ETF (NYSEArca: EWQ) rose 8.9% while the iShares MSCI Germany ETF (NYSEArca: EWG) gained 5.9%. Meanwhile, the broader Eurozone ETFs, iShares MSCI EMU ETF (NYSEArca: EZU) and SPDR EURO STOXX 50 (NYSEArca: FEZ), increased 7.6 and 5.9%, respectively.
Secretary general of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) argues that France is not the “sick man of Europe” and is on pace for greater economic growth accompanied by more jobs, reports Holly Ellyat for CNBC.
“There are a number of reforms that have been put on the books,” Angel Gurria told CNBC, adding that the government was fully aware of what it needed to do to boost economic growth. “Economy Minister, Emmanuel Macron, has himself said they have to do more on the labor side – this is where both Italy and Spain… have gone further than France has, and they’re in relatively good shape, so it should be a good example.”
The country is currently grappling with a significant unemployment rate, which hit 10.6% in March. Nevertheless, French President Francois Hollande has pledged to lower the unemployment rate.
The International Monetary Fund calculated that the French economy could expand 1.2% this year, compared to a 0.4% growth last year, citing cheap oil prices, a weaker euro currency and low interest rates, Xinhua News Agency reported.
“After almost four years of near-stagnation, we project real gross domestic product (GDP) growth to rise to 1.2 percent this year, above the government’s forecast,” the international organization said.